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Landscape complexity perception and representation in a wine-growing region with the designation of origin in the Loire Valley (France): a cultural ecosystem service?

  • Morgane E. T. Hervé (a1), Philippe Boudes (a2), Caroline Cieslik (a3), David Montembault (a4), Vincent Jung (a5), Françoise Burel (a6), Daniel Cluzeau (a1), Silvia Winter (a7) and Annegret Nicolai (a1)...


Ecosystem services related to biodiversity, including cultural services, are essential for agricultural production such as viticulture. In agricultural landscapes, pesticides and mechanization threaten biodiversity, lead to landscape simplification and may reduce ecosystem services. On the other hand, consumers are more and more aware of environmental issues in food production. We investigated if landscape complexity, including soil management practices, was (i) appreciated by visitors and (ii) presented by winegrowers and tourism professionals in the French vineyards with the designation of geographical origin (DGO) ‘Coteaux du Layon’. Our goal was to determine if landscape complexity provides cultural ecosystem services such as aesthetics beneficial for the wine trade and the DGO region's attractiveness. We analyzed the iconographic content and the composition of landscape photographs on 50 websites to investigate if local winegrowers and tourism professionals associate biodiversity in the landscape and soil management practices with wine promotion. A questionnaire was realized to study the perception of local landscapes by interviewing 192 visitors of the region. The benefits of landscape complexity and soil management practices favoring biodiversity in viticulture were known and appreciated by many visitors, even if photographs of wine and traditional practices appeared to encourage wine purchasing. Local winegrowers’ representation of the DGO region only partially served these preferences; instead they mainly presented the wine-growing region by photographs focusing on wine bottles and vineyards. Consumer's preferences showed that complex landscapes could provide cultural ecosystem services that winegrowers are still less aware of. Therefore, complexity-targeted landscape planning including vegetation cover in soil management should be included in policy recommendations as agroecological measures for sustainable DGO production.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Morgane E. T. Hervé, E-mail:


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